Were You Charged with Soliciting Prostitution?

Prostitution charges include not only engaging in sex for money, but also solicitation. If you are facing a solicitation charge, you need to understand the specifics of the offense, and well as the potential penalties. If you are facing a charge of solicitation in San Diego, contact an experienced criminal lawyer today. Call Ryan J. Tegnelia at RJT Criminal Defense. Your first consultation is free.

How is Solicitation Defined Under California Law?

The crime of solicitation of prostitution requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that

  1. you asked, requested, or solicited another person to engage in an act of prostitution, that is, to have sex or to engage in a lewd act, in return for cash or other consideration,
  2. you had the specific intent of engaging in an act of prostitution with the other person, and
  3. the other person received the request you communicated.

Like prostitution itself, soliciting is generally a misdemeanor, with a maximum potential sentence of six months in jail and/or a fine. And also like prostitution, a conviction can have a significant impact upon your life, including present and future employment opportunities.

Examples of Soliciting Prostitution

In order to better understand the law in this area some examples will explain what kind of behavior is – and is not – covered under the crime of solicitation.

Example 1.

A woman posts an ad on Craigslist stating that she will have intercourse with a man in exchange for a specific amount of money, say $100. The ad contains a phone number, and a man, we’ll call him John, calls and sets up a date. The two meet at a hotel, at which point John gives the woman $100, and she accepts it. A solicitation charge is likely.

Example 2.

A woman stands on a street corner wearing “provocative” clothing. It is an area where prostitutes are known to congregate. John drives by in his car, pulls up to the woman, holds up some cash, and says he’ll give her $150 to have sex with him. This will likely support a solicitation charge, even if it turns out that the woman was in fact a cop.

Example 3.

John approaches a well-known street corner where prostitutes gather. He flashes some cash and says he’ll pay $250 to have sex with a woman. But it’s raining, visibility is low, and the woman on the corner neither hears John nor sees what he is doing with the cash. In this case, the communication was not received, and there is no solicitation.

What is the Difference between Solicitation and “Pimping”?

Prostitution and soliciting prostitution are misdemeanors covered under PC 647(b). The solicitation law could in some cases support a charge traditionally associated with pimping, but the law in California has a specific statute devoted to that offense. Under PC 266(h), a person is guilty of pimping if he or she (a) knowing a person is a prostitute, (b) either (i) derives support from the earnings of the prostitution, or (ii) solicits for the prostitute. Since pimping is a felony, the potential penalty is significantly greater under PC 266 than under the prostitution statute.

Defending a Charge of Soliciting Prostitution

If you have been charged with soliciting, a conviction is not a foregone conclusion. Often, these charges arise out of a police sting operation, and entrapment may be a defense. In addition, solicitation charges are often based in part on being dressed a certain way, or being at a particular location associated with prostitution. The law is, however, that driving through a particular neighborhood, walking in a place known for prostitution, or wearing certain clothing, is not enough for a conviction.

At RJT Criminal Defense, we understand these charges, and how to defend against them. Even if your case is not dismissed, a reduction in the charge, and/or the penalty, is always possible. Whatever the specifics of your case may be, we will work hard to obtain the best result possible on your behalf. Call Ryan Tegnelia today for a free consultation.